Posted by: smstrouse | October 15, 2015

Parliament of the World’s Religions: Day 1

IMG_0515The fifth Parliament of the World’s Religions has begun! Around 10,000 people from 80+ countries and 50 religious and spiritual traditions are here, including the indigenous nations of Utah. The official opening was this evening, but all day groups were setting up displays, art installations, hospitality suites and tables of beautiful things for sale. I watched a group of Tibetan Buddhists beginning to create a sand mandala. A few feet away, a prayer service was being conducted at a Jain temple.

Walking through one of the exhibition halls, I came upon a sculpture  being created with keys. When I asked what it was all about, the women at the table told me that it was for full inclusion of IMG_0513women in religious leadership (yea!) and they were advocating for the ordination of women in the Mormon church. So I picked out a key, wrote my name on it and fastened it to the metal arch. You can’t see it in the picture, but the arch already had a good number of keys hanging from it.

And just so you know I’m not picking on one religion, I also got a wrist band from the Roman Catholic Womenpriest booth. And that’s where I finally ran into Orion, First United’s music director/admin. He’d been helping out Jann Aldridge-Clanton at her workshop during the Women’s Assembly.

There are lots of folks here from the Bay area. But I also met up with old friends from Buffalo: Father Butch Mazur, from the Network of Religious Communities of Western NY and Father Duke Zajac, who’s still a chaplain at Sisters of Charity Hospital, where I also worked back in 1989-91.

Tomorrow, I’m planning to go to one or two workshops – and a Cosmic Mass led by Matthew Fox. At some point I also have to fine tune my own workshop, which is scheduled for Monday. Plenty of time!

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